ESTEVE Maurice

Maurice Estève was born in Cher (Culan) in 1904, he died there at the age of 97. He spent most of his childhood in his native village with his grandparents. His passion for art came to him at a very young age, since it is said that he was already drawing frequently when he was only 8 years old. He was ten when he discovered Paris, the Louvre, Delacroix, Corot and Courbet. He was 11 when he started to paint. His vocation was born. His father is hostile to this career, his mother encourages him, and Maurice Estève leaves Paris for Spain where he will stay one year, running a shawl drawing workshop at the age of 19.

Back in France, he devoted himself to painting while living on “odd jobs” and set up his first real workshop in 1930. The same year, his first exhibition will not be successful. Estève will have to wait almost 20 years to exhibit again.

A self-taught painter, immersed for a time in the influence of the Paris of the Surrealists (1927-29), an admirer of Braque, and devoted a real passion to Cézanne (in 1942 he painted a “Tribute” to this painter), the artist hesitated for a long time between figurative and abstract art. Under the influence of a Matisse, Bonnard, or Jacques Villon, Maurice Estève quickly found his palette. He opted for the abstract – although he had always refuted this appellation for his art -, making the balanced forms vibrate with vibrant colors.

His art was consecrated, in 1987, by the creation of a museum in the Hôtel des Échevins (Bourges), to which he donated 125 of his works.

Considered by many as one of the greatest painters of our time, Estève is an admirable draughtsman, watercolourist, engraver and an exceptional lithographer.